Company Name: Texas Beach Bloody Mary Mix
Founder/Creator: Austin Green, Greg White + Rob Wooten
Company Launch: 2015
What Inspired You To Start Your Company?
I had developed a Bloody Mary Mix that chefs, bartenders, and friends all thought was fantastic. At the very beginning, we just canned our mix in Ball jars, the old fashioned way out of my kitchen. These jars were the first samples that made their way to Richmond food and beverage community for peer review. The response was overwhelmingly positive. We all dreamed of working for ourselves and providing a product people loved. We saw an opportunity to realize that dream and dove in head first.
Tell us about your products.
Having just been on the market for a little over a year, we currently only offer our flagship mix. It is a robust and complex mix that develops on the palate. Cumin and turmeric establish a savory quality and horseradish and red chile provide a rising heat. Our mix was developed with the busy brunch bartender in mind. There's no need to doctor it up. It's fantastic right out of the bottle.
What Does Being A Small-Batch “Artisan” Mean To You?
It really means taking on a lot more responsibility and being completely accountable to the great people who support us and love our product. It isn't simply providing our customers with a delicious, responsibly sourced, and healthy product. We also have a duty to represent the Richmond community and our local food scene. They are what has made our company successful and we take our responsibility to them very seriously.
What is your favorite small-batch treat?
Locally/regionally sourced cured meats. We have so many amazing farms raising animals in a respectful manner and butchers, chefs, and artisans continuing that reverence by creating something worthy of the sacrifice.
What Drew You To Food?
Food is obviously something we need to sustain us all. Everyone should have a vested interest in the food they eat or prepare. That’s a pretty reductionist view, of course. Food is far more complicated. The act of cooking is one of the few things that distinguishes us as humans. It defines cultures. It brings people together and supports civilizations. Even the absence of food, as in the case of religious fasting and dietary exclusions as examples, are important to our species. It’s pretty important stuff, right? How could we not be excited and defined by this necessary and glorious aspect of life as a human?
Where Does Your Food Inspiration Come From?
Necessity is clearly an important factor. We thought that the market was lacking so we have strived to fill that gap. However, inspiration can come from anywhere. Perhaps I experience a dish that combines different flavor profiles that spark an idea? Maybe that 7th fish sauce I buy will deliver with the other ingredients I’ve chosen for a project or a tomato one of our local farms plans to grow is perfect for a puree? We’re lucky here in Richmond. We have amazing people creating products that come from our neighbors who work hard to produce the ingredients. It’s a special place. We’re located in the center of several food systems: The Chesapeake Bay, The Atlantic Ocean, fertile farmland, and the mountains. It truly is inspiring.
What Products Are You Working On Now?
Our Bloody Mary Mix includes two distinct products, an olive brine and a pickle brine. As we grow as a company we have decided to produce them both as separate products. I’m very happy with how this is shaping up. I’ve also tasted out a few other experimental Bloody Mary mixes and am dialing in recipes. I expect us to have at least four new products in the next six months.
Do You Have a Favorite Product?
I love tomatoes. As a child we didn’t eat a lot of sweets. Our snacks were almost always veggies. I’m told that as a small child I would eat entire tomatoes like one eats an apple. I know it seems cliche that a Bloody Mary producer loves tomatoes, but I can honestly say I love these guys.
Latest Ingredient Obsession?
Anything fermented. Pickled everything! The art of fermentation is so fascinating, and delicious. I love food and I love science. Fermentation is the best of both worlds.
What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?
Homemade vereniki, which is a potato dumpling. Svetlana, my amazing wife, is Russian and I'm delighted when she decides to make the traditional dough and cook this treat. I'm a lucky man and I'm always happy to eat traditional fare from her culture.
What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Try Your Product?
It's disputed who came up with the "original" Bloody Mary. I suspect it popped up in several places. I'd love to have these early pioneers of this staple cocktail try our product. Perhaps they wouldn't like it, but I'd love to sit through their criticism.
What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Gotten In Building Your Business?
Concentrate your capitol on building your brand and getting it to as many people as possible. There are so many choices to make. You need to make sure each one advances the brand. Starting out, do all the events. Get out there and talk to the public. They'll let you know what they think. Take it all into consideration.
What Other Local Food Artisans or Chefs Do You Admire?
Manakintowne Farms: This family is awesome. Their top-notch produce is served all over Richmond and they often times provide product that becomes the centerpiece of Richmond cuisine. Chef Jason Alley: Jason makes our pickle brine for our mix but has also been a champion of our downtown food scene. He is an incredible "Southern Chef" but is also committed to his sources for product and the community he feeds. I've learned a lot about stewardship from Chef Alley. Along with Michele Jones, Pasture and Comfort have changed the landscape of downtown. I have to give Chef Russel Cook a shout out as well. He taught me a lot about technique, plating, and was an all around patient teacher. There's no surprise that he is now teaching the next generation of RVA Chefs.
If You Had To Choose Your Last Meal, What Would It Be?
Favorite Restaurant or Food Experience?
I was lucky enough to have very close friends in college at William and Mary who were Marine Biologists. On countless occasions we dined on Chesapeake Bay oysters that were roasted over a wood fire, only an hour after harvest. Of course we ate them raw too. Eating oysters with the people who I trust to keep this amazing food source and natural filtration for the Bay thriving was an amazing experience.
What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of the Kitchen?
I enjoy making music with a local band, Rattlemouth. We play everything from Ethiopian Jazz to Turkish music and are working on a new album of mostly original vocal music right now. I also love supporting a myriad of local bands and performers making art in Richmond.
What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack?
I'm an NPR junkie but for music, I've been on a Mathew E. White and Toxic Moxie kick. Both are based out of Richmond. Both are amazing.
What is your favorite recipe to make with the product featured in our basket?
I love to marinate in our mix. Flank steak is absolutely tender and delicious after just a few hours in the fridge. Also, dab a little on a fresh shucked oyster. It's simple but wonderful.